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Title: Peer Support Program for Cancer Clients – South Indian Experience”

Article Number: EC2/2015/031

Authors: 1Mr. Yayathee Subbarayalu, 2 Dr. Susila Chandrasekaran, 3 Dr. Kanchana Khan, 4 Dr.

Topic: Nursing


Background/Purpose: Peer support program for cancer clients was well known and accepted one all over the world. In India peer support for cancer is informal and not as a support model in care. Clients show good coping with peer support. A journey started with an aim of bringing in standard training program for peer support in India and to make them as part of healing team.

Methods: A Training module was prepared with expert validation. The criteria’s for becoming volunteer were completed treatment successfully, healthy on regular follow up, completed at least primary education and willing to spend one hour in a day. A 2 half day workshop with pre test of self rated skill checklist followed by post test evaluation of self after one month and client rating of satisfaction with peer was planned. Incentives were provided for undergoing the training and also for providing peer support. Informed consent was obtained.

Results: Peer identification process was a huge challenge as people are stigmatized over the diagnosis and not willing to volunteer even with incentives. In about 3 months, 40 eligible clients were asked and only 5 clients with breast cancer consented for training. Training was given and they faced difficulty with providing face to face support which was changed into telephonic support. Clients and peers expressed satisfaction over the process. The Initial hiccup was overcome and now many volunteers willing to undergo training.



    COMMENT - 1

  • Ms SURRIYA SHAHNAZ (Viewer) 17th Nov 2015 - 11:33 AM
    such training are really in need to provide awareness about such diseases as in developing countries ,specially in remote areas where most of the patients do not have support and unable to cope with killing disease like cancer. Peer identification process is really a challenge which needs to be addressed. Peer support program for cancer patient is an ideal and well known program to help out cancer survivors. surriya shahnaz PhD Nursing Student ,TAU,Pakistan
    • C.Susila (Author) 17th Nov 2015 - 11:40 AM
      Dear Reviewer,
      Thanks for giving your feedback. Peer identification is a great challenge for implementing such program for the first time, but once established others get motivated for participating in the program. Now for us we are getting volunteers easily who are willing to get trained as peer counselors. And now we started to calling Survivors as cancer "Conquerors" . They like to be addressed as Conquerors not as Survivors.

  • COMMENT - 2

  • Omolola Oluwakorede Ademuyiwa (Viewer) 19th Nov 2015 - 10:11 AM
    A peer support program for clients with cancers and other terminal ailments is a very good concept in the development of coping strategies for the client but the challenges this poses include the fact that in situations where clients are in denial until the disease has ravaged the system. i would suggest that clients with success stories of recovery especially healthcare providers be included in the care process for newly diagnosed cases but where this is not possible then clients with similar conditions who have been successfully treated should be encouraged to volunteer as peer counselors.
    in this part of the world, it is quite difficult to get volunteers as peer counselors because once an individual is diagnosed with a disease like cancer, it is believed to be a spiritual problem that will defy all medical treatments as well as generating a lot of much ado and pity party. therefore people would rather be aloof or not identified with such an ailment and this includes healthcare providers who we assume should know better.

    nice paper, I am looking forward to a time when peer support groups will be readily available, accessible and acceptable in this part of the divide.

  • COMMENT - 3

  • C.Susila (Author) 19th Nov 2015 - 6:07 PM
    Dear Omolola Oluwakorede Ademuyiwa,
    Thanks for giving your valuable points about the article. The main idea of creating the peer counselor concept is to bring them into the healthcare system of treating Cancer clients. They should be part of treatment process. It's very hard to hear about the state of cancer clients there, here in India still in rural areas people behave in such a way, but thanks to good awareness program by the government the concept is changing. Education and awareness is the key for change. We use peer counselors as motivational agents for creating awareness about cancer. Try creating awareness programs about cancer in those areas where the stigma is more. Slowly change will take place as you wished.
    Thanks for the Interaction,
    Warm regards,

  • COMMENT - 4

  • SWAPNA ELLIKAL VAVA (Viewer) 23rd Nov 2015 - 8:40 PM
    Hai Susila It is really nice concept of peer support program that will motivate and give a positive energy for the clients.It was really konwledgable and very informative

  • COMMENT - 5

  • C.Susila (Author) 24th Nov 2015 - 4:39 PM
    Dear Swapna,
    Thanks for viewing our article and providing your valuable feedback. It was in deed an interesting journey in applying the concept of peer support for our clients.
    warm regards.

  • COMMENT - 6

  • Wilson Umolemeh Edeifo (Viewer) 24th Nov 2015 - 9:36 PM
    really interesting writeup,but your work is somehow more relevant in developing countries,i know india may be find in this categories.Self help groups I think are similar to peer support group as obtainable in the US and the UK.Which countries practice these ?And which don't even know how these groups have helped sufferers to to recover stylishly without stress.I think more advocacy is essentially important in countries where this is not operative.

  • COMMENT - 7

  • C.Susila (Author) 26th Nov 2015 - 12:00 PM
    Dear edeifo wilson umolemeh ,
    Thanks for sharing your views, It has already proven in the developed countries and in developing countries theses concepts are quite new, In India also the awareness of such programs are there but not widely practiced. This program was to make people aware that such concepts are needed to improve the quality of life of the people who are undergoing the problem. yes as rightly pointed out more advocacy and awareness are needed to take this concept to everyone. This forum has created one such platform for sharing our concepts.
    warm regards.

  • COMMENT - 8

  • J.Carolin Joe Rosario (Viewer) 27th Nov 2015 - 12:18 PM
    Really interesting article.

  • COMMENT - 9

  • C.Susila (Author) 27th Nov 2015 - 3:26 PM
    Dear J.Carolin Joe Rosario
    Thanks for your comments.
    warm regards